- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2020

When Mike Locksley arrived in College Park in December 2018 after three years as an assistant coach at Alabama, Terrapin fans could only hope the District native could transform the troubled Maryland program into the Crimsom Tide North.

Locksley’s program took a step closer to that dream with the news that Taulia Tagovailoa, a backup quarterback at Alabama last year behind star brother Tua Tagovailoa, is transferring to Maryland and hopes to play this season.

Tagovailoa, a former four-star recruit who had offers after high school from Tennessee, Florida and Nebraska would presumably compete for the top spot with last year’s Terrapins starter, Josh Jackson.

Tagovailoa’s father Galu Tagovailoa told AL.com in a report published Monday his son had “nothing against” the Crimson Tide.

“But my boys are competitive and (Taulia) is such a competitive kid,” he said. “And he wanted an opportunity to compete. He was told that he was going to come in and compete and he didn’t really get that opportunity, so he wanted to use the spring to do that. But with the COVID-19 thing going on, he didn’t really have the opportunity to compete.”

“This decision was not easy & has been prayed on non stop. Thank you to my Pastors & my family for always interceding on my behalf,” Tagovailoa tweeted on Friday. “Today, I am blessed to share that I will be continuing my academic & athletic journey at the University of Maryland. I’m grateful to Coach Locksley & the staff for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to get to College Park. God bless & Go Terps!”

The 5-foot-11 quarterback will need a waiver to be eligible this season. He played five games last season as a freshman, completing 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

Locksley coached Tagovailoa’s older brother, Tua, selected fifth overall in the NFL draft by Miami, as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

In 2018, the Locksley-Tua Tagovailoa combination helped Alabama set school records for points scored (623), single-season total offense (6,859 yards) and passing yards (4,231) in a season.

Entering his second season as coach of the Terrapins, Locksley is delighted to have the younger Tagovailoa in the mix at quarterback.

“Taulia has outstanding field vision and excellent pocket awareness,” Locksley said. “He’s a twitchy passer that has the ability to make and extend plays in and outside of the pocket because of his above-average athleticism. Taulia has terrific touch and trajectory on his throws and delivers the ball with above-average accuracy. He’s a highly competitive player that will bring great competition to a good quarterback room.”

In high school, Taulia Tagovailoa became the only quarterback in Alabama history to have at least four 400-yard passing performances in his career. He threw for 3,728 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior at Thompson High.

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